Dog Neutering: Cruel or Kind? We Have the Facts

You love your pup, and you’re worried that getting the “big snip” might cause more harm than good. After all, won’t he miss those male parts? Won’t he be less of a dog without them? Won’t he lose that quirky personality that makes him so endearing? Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Photo by Dominik QN on Unsplash

Possible reasons not to neuter your dog

Before we dig deep into the benefits neutering provides, let’s take a quick look at three good reasons why some dog owners opt-out. 

  • The dog is a purebred with excellent genetics, and the owner is a reputable breeder who plans to have the dog stand stud for future litters.
  • The dog is destined for the show ring, and the shows the owner is interested in require dogs to be intact. If you’re planning to show your purebred dog in certain AKC or CKC shows, he’s not a candidate for neutering until after his show career comes to an end. The good news is that all dogs – even mixed breeds and spayed/neutered dogs – are eligible to participate in obedience, rally, agility, and coursing shows.
  • Your vet has a sound medical reason why you shouldn’t neuter your dog right now.

Unless any of these factors apply to your pup, he’s probably a great candidate for the big snip. 

What does dog neutering involve?

Neutering is a quick surgical procedure that takes place under general anesthesia. After the puppy or dog has been sedated and the surgical field has been sterilized, the veterinarian carefully creates an incision between the penis and scrotum. Next, the testicles and the testicular epididymis are removed, as well as spermatic ducts. After securing the internal structures, the vet closes the skin. The entire procedure takes well under an hour in most cases. 

After surgery, the dog is fitted with a cone that prevents licking and chewing that could damage the surgical site. Pain management is provided as needed and your dog should be able to come home the same day. Most puppies and dogs are fully recovered within two weeks of neutering. Adult dogs are considered sterile within about six weeks of neutering, so you’ll need to keep your dog away from females in the heat if he’s old enough to mate.

Most vets agree that neutering can technically take place anytime after about 8 weeks of age, although most prefer to wait just a bit longer. Be sure to talk with your vet about the best time to neuter your puppy. 

Reasons to neuter your dog

While there are just a handful of reasons to leave male dogs intact, there are many more reasons why neutering dogs is often a smart idea. 

The first, the most obvious reason for dog neutering is that this is an effective means of preventing unwanted puppies. 

The second reason – and one that you might not have heard before – is that a male dog can smell a female in heat from miles away. This causes the dog to become aroused – and when he isn’t able to mate, he is very uncomfortable. Furthermore, the mating instinct is so strong that intact male dogs may love their families, but they’ll make extraordinary efforts to run away to find the female. 

  • Neutered dogs are at a lower risk for testicular cancer.
  • The prostate disease occurs less often in neutered dogs.
  • Neutering typically adds one to three years to the average dog’s life.
  • Intact male dogs can be friendly, but there’s a much higher risk for aggression. Neutering your dog greatly reduces the likelihood that he’ll feel like fighting with other dogs, particularly males.
  • Neutered dogs are content to stay home; they no longer feel the urge to roam and mate.
  • Territorial marking behavior is greatly decreased in neutered dogs. If your dog hasn’t started to mark yet, neutering him before he develops the behavior is likely to prevent it altogether.
  • Thanks to lower testosterone levels, neutered dogs are generally calmer, more manageable, and easier to train. They’re focused on you instead of feeling frustrated over the inability to mate.
  • Since neutered dogs aren’t biologically wired for dominance, there’s a far lower likelihood that they’ll engage in bothersome leg humping, mounting other pets, and displaying dominance in other ways. It’s worth noting that dominance displays that involve mounting and mock humping can still occur.

These are just a few of the reasons why it’s kind – not cruel – to have your dog neutered. Keep reading to learn more about the procedure itself and the advantages of neutering your dog.  

Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash

The cost of dog neuteringThe cost of dog neutering varies depending on size, age, and average prices in your area as well as whether you visit a low-cost spay and neuter clinic or if you have your pup neutered at a general veterinary practice. Some vets and communities offer special events with deeply discounted prices. By doing just a little bit of homework, you can save quite a bit of money while treating your dog to safe, effective surgery that will leave him happier – and healthier – for life.